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Global markets jumped on Tuesday on renewed coronavirus recovery hopes, as governments around the world planned steps for a return to normal life and work after the outbreak.
Tokyo stocks were up more than 2 percent at midday, leading the broad gains in the Asia-Pacific region. Other types of investments showing rallying optimism as well. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds fell, sending yields higher. Oil prices rose on futures markets.
Futures markets suggested Wall Street would open more than 1 percent higher later on Tuesday, after being closed on Monday for Memorial Day. European markets were set to open broadly higher as well.
Investors shrugged off negative news like rising tensions between the United States and China and the combustible political situation in Hong Kong. Instead, they focused on Japanese leaders gradually lifting emergency measures there, while European leaders have also moved to ease restrictions.
In the United States, images showed public areas filling up with people despite outbreak concerns as Americans celebrated the holiday, indicating the strong desire to return to normalcy. The White House rolled out a plan for coronavirus testing that would shift much of the burden to individual states.
Millions of adults have signed up for online classes in the last two months — a jolt that could signal a renaissance for big online learning networks that had struggled for years.
Coursera added 10 million new users from mid-March to mid-May, seven times the pace of new sign-ups in the previous year. Enrollments at edX and Udacity, two smaller education sites, have jumped by similar multiples.
“Crises lead to accelerations, and this is best chance ever for online learning,” said Sebastian Thrun, a co-founder and chairman of Udacity.
Coursera, Udacity and edX sprang up nearly a decade ago as high-profile university experiments known as MOOCs, for massive open online courses. They were portrayed as tech-fueled insurgents destined to disrupt the antiquated ways of traditional higher education. But few people completed courses, grappling with the same challenges now facing students forced into distance learning because of the pandemic. Screen fatigue sets in, and attention strays.
The online ventures adapted through trial and error, gathering lessons that could provide a road map for schools districts and universities pushed online. The instructional ingredients of success, the sites found, include short videos of six minutes or less, interspersed with interactive drills and tests; online forums where students share problems and suggestions; and online mentoring and tutoring.
“Active learning works, and social learning works,” said Anant Agarwal, founder and chief executive of edX. “And you have to understand that teaching online and learning online are skills of their own.”
The Transportation Department said late Friday that it would tentatively allow 15 airlines to stop flights to about 60 mostly small and midsize cities, though none of the destinations stand to lose service entirely.
The destinations are mostly in secondary markets where airlines have said there is little demand for flights or that could be served by other nearby airports.
American Airlines, for example, would be allowed to stop flying to an airport in Worcester, Mass., which is a little over an hour’s drive from Boston Logan International Airport. It would also be allowed to stop flying to Aspen and Eagle, Colo.
Delta Air Lines would be able to stop service to Erie, Pa.; Flint, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Williston, N.D., among others. United Airlines would be able to stop flights to Fairbanks, Alaska; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and others.
The decision is rooted in the federal stimulus passed in late March, known as the CARES Act. Under that law, any airline that received federal assistance, including all of the major carriers, is required to maintain a minimum number of flights to locations that it had served before the pandemic erased virtually all demand for air travel. But the law also allowed the Transportation Department to grant exceptions, which it has done regularly for weeks.
The agency said it would review any objections or comments on its decision filed before 5 p.m. next Thursday.
On the afternoon of May 14, Joanne Patten sat down at her computer in her home in Houston and logged in to a Zoom call with her employer, WW International, the company formerly known as Weight Watchers.
She listened as her boss, reading from a script, said she and the other employees on the Zoom call were being fired, effective when the three-minute session ended. It was one of numerous Zoom calls that occurred simultaneously across the country, resulting in the firing of an undisclosed number of WW employees.
For employees of WW, the mass terminations were especially painful because in recent years the company, under its chief executive, Mindy Grossman, and its high-profile investor and board member Oprah Winfrey, has moved from focusing on weight loss to a more full-on embrace of the broader wellness movement. In 2018, the company changed its five-decade-old moniker from Weight Watchers to WW and introduced the slogan “Wellness That Works.”
This is supposed to be a caring, wellness corporation,” said Ms. Patten, who said she would have preferred to be let go in a one-on-one conversation with her boss. “The way they did it, it was just heartless.”
Nick Hotchkin, the chief financial officer for WW, declined to say how many employees were fired through the Zoom calls; the company had more than 17,000 employees at the end of last year, most of them part-time workers.
For millions of college students, internships can be a steppingstone to full-time work, a vital source of income and even a graduation requirement.
Students who had locked down internships as early as September are now jobless. Others who had hoped to experience an office setting for the first time are instead looking for work at fast-food restaurants. Many low-income undergraduates, already saddled with student loans, are concerned that a jobless summer could put them at a disadvantage in future application cycles, making it harder to find full-time work after graduation.
“I feel like I had such a strong plan,” said Lydia Burns, whose internship at a nonprofit organization in Washington was canceled. “I knew what I was going to do — I had been working for it all of college. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Some companies are continuing to pay interns to work from home, sending corporate laptops in the mail and holding get-to-know-you sessions over Zoom. But students fear that remote internships will not afford the networking opportunities that can make spending a summer in an office so valuable, especially for interns who have few professional contacts.
Hertz, which started with a fleet of a dozen Ford Model T’s a century ago and became one of the world’s largest car rental companies, filed for bankruptcy protection late Friday after falling victim to its mountain of debt. Hertz said that it would use more than $1 billion in cash on hand to keep its business running while it proceeds with the bankruptcy process. The bankruptcy filing excludes operations in Australia, Europe and New Zealand as well as the company’s franchisee locations.
General Motors said on Friday that it was delaying plans to add second shifts next week at three pickup truck plants — in Flint, Mich., Ft. Wayne, Ind., and Silao, Mexico — because production in Mexico was resuming at a slower pace than in the United States. The company restarted its U.S. plants on Monday, and is still planning to add a second shift at a sport-utility vehicle plant near Lansing, Mich. next week as scheduled. It restarted engine and transmission plants in Mexico on Thursday evening, and vehicle assembly plants in Mexico on Friday.
Reporting was contributed by Niraj Chokshi, Mohammed Hadi, Julie Creswell, Neal E. Boudette and David Yaffe-Bellany.